Here’s to New Years Resolutions!

It’s that time of the year again where we start to make our new year plans for what we hope to achieve.  More money, lose weight, new jobs or less work are all sounding like familiar new years’ resolutions.  We have had quite a year in 2017, even more if you look at our last two years.  We got married, went on our honeymoon, I have worked overtime every fortnight for at least 18months, we moved into a share house to save money while we were applying for a home loan, we had a lot of issues going back and forth with the lender asking for more and more documentation, and then we bought a house, moved again, my husband finished his second university degree, and now he has secured a new graduation position for this year.

I guess you could say this is my token new years’ resolution post.  But I haven’t made the traditional goals for myself, I have gained weight over Christmas and of course, I plan to get rid of it, but that’s not the goal.  Our new years’ resolutions need to be more than a final product, but rather should be a list of the things we will do to get there.  If we don’t have a defined plan of achievable goals we will always be disappointed in our ability to set ourselves up to fail.

nyeCollectively my husband and I have decided we want to be healthier because we have had quite a bad year, living in share accommodation saw our diets take a back step, and ever since moving house we haven’t been able to get our routine back, now we are planning to rectify some pathology abnormalities and generally improve our intake and fitness.  I have allowed my exercise regime to somewhat fall apart, the only time I get to the gym these days is when we have plans with the personal trainer and I know I need to go so I don’t let someone else down.  For the most part, I guess the goal is to get our routine back, be better prepared and organised enough to manage meals, laundry and life as a shift worker again.

So what are our resolutions for this year?  I like to steer clear of the traditional ones, but this year I have a holistic approach.  We have most of the things we were working towards now, and therefore our goals are changing as we yearn for health and more quality time.  I have broken my resolutions/goals for the coming year into categories;

  • Personal
  • Health
  • Family
  • Work

Personal development for me this year is to have more time in my own headspace.  I have been dealing with intense stress levels for a long period of time, working full time and over time more often than not, studying full time and trying to maintain a routine of sorts.  I have been getting a lot of migraines lately and have been reading a lot about the benefits of meditation, so my plan is to give myself some time to be quiet in my own head, to get to yoga, read a book, do some sewing, anything that’s just for me at least once a week.  I want to get back to working on a 12 month “happiness project”, whereby I can chip away at little things I can change to make the most of my quality time with myself, friends and family, while hopefully being more productive and spend less time doing things that leave me feeling disappointed in all the time I waste on them…  Like facebook, and watching tv, plus I would like to spend more time on my blog, something else that really helps my headspace.  Healthwise, I plan to get back to regular exercise, meaning back to the gym 3 times a week, regular yoga practice (which overlaps with the personal goal but sometimes these things can benefit you in more than one area), and we be awesomeare embarking on a new “diet” of types, planning to cut out as much sugar as we can, eat healthier and a lot of that comes down to me being organised and motivated.  We bought the “I Quit Sugar” cookbooks by Sarah Wilson, so my plan over the coming week is to have a read and get started.  My family goal is for my husband and I is to schedule more time together, to go out for brunch together, or even just cook dinner together, sit out on our patio or balcony and have a cup of tea at the end of the day.  Our rosters are going to clash quite a lot this year so I think this will be the hardest to coordinate but if we plan ahead we should be able to fit a few hours in a few times a week, and we would like to go on a holiday later in the year.  Last of all is work.  Hubby would like me to drop back my hours, but I would only spend the time at home wondering what to do with myself as we don’t have any kids, and the financial gain could help us get ahead.  Instead, I won’t be putting my hand up for so much over time, and using my mornings and evenings to catch up on everything I missed out on while studying for the last 2 years.  I plan to get a subscription to a journal, work on my professional development, and negotiate with my manager about working towards becoming a clinical nurse specialist.

While that all sounds quite long and detailed, I have sacrificed sharing the little goals I plan to utilise to achieve all those resolutions, but the key to maintaining your goals is to make them achievable, don’t try to do it all at once, have a plan and reassess.  If you don’t have an evaluation process how will you know if you are making progress before you get to the end of the year, and if you see progress it will help you to maintain motivation.  I am constantly surprised when I talk to people about weight loss, mention my loss of 40kgs and get that amazed response from them before they ask me how I did it.  I had a lot of trouble prior, but in the end, I had to make achievable changes, and the progress made me see the benefits of my hard work, and motivated me to continue.  Changes are more easily achieved when we chip away at them and take them one step at a time.

To start the year, I have spent the day watching Sex and the City chilling on the lounge with my computer, and finished the evening on the balcony on my blog searching for a summer breeze, while my hubby heads off to the movies to watch the new Star Wars movie.  I plan to make the most of my following week, with 12 days left before I go back to work, I plan to be quite refreshed.  After all, what are the holidays for?

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Finally Back Online

It has been a while since the last time I was able to post.  We have now moved house, finally got an internet connection after about 3-4 weeks, and looking forward to getting a normal routine back.

We have made a few new additions to our family, we already had a cat, but now we have 3 kittens as well, which apparently makes me a crazy cat lady.  But, at least there’s never a dull moment and they can entertain each other.  


This was taken after getting the first 2 kittens, now there is a third. We don’t have any group photos of all 4 just yet.


I am looking forward to getting our routine back, after this last week of anarchy.  Back to meal planning and having a week or so of “business as usual” before we go away for a few days for Christmas.  What I am most looking forward to is getting back after Christmas and having 2 weeks of being in our new home, to do normal things…  Cook dinner, go for a walk, read a book, write or just watch tv if I want to, in addition to hanging out with our friends and catching up with people we haven’t seen in a while.

I am looking forward to what next year brings us, I feel as though next year is now a clean slate, not really knowing what it will bring for us.  My husband is starting a new position in a new career, we will both be nursing on shift work so hopefully, we will still see each other.  We have a few things we would like to do around the house, but mostly we are looking forward to having no study, and no commitments outside of work hours.  This is our year of enjoyment…  Hopefully!

In the meantime we have Christmas.

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Countdown: 7 Days Until Moving Day

I have struggled to keep up with my blog this year, between uni, moving house, working overtime and now moving again.  But, things should settle soon, we are moving for the last time for as long as I can put it off, we finally bought our first house.

As you can imagine after all the suffering, stress and running around we are finally moving in next week.  So this week has been a week of acquiring boxes, packing boxes and looking around the house wondering what else I can pack, and make lists about what needs to be taken, what days to pack certain things that need to wait until closer to the day.  Moving can be hard enough, but I also have to work this week, we have a family commitment on the weekend 2hrs away from where we live, and somehow we have to finish the process while maintaining business as usual.  So, as usual, I have had to make myself a plan.

Looking at this logically I have 7 days until moving day.  In that time I have to work, movingspend one day on travel, finish packing, take as many loads of boxes across as I can to the new house to lighten the load on moving day.  I like to be as organised as I can be, so I have made a meal plan for the week, a plan of attack for packing, and a plan for our ongoing “business as usual” week.

Day 1 of 7: (today)
Day off (no work)
Organise phone, internet and foxtel
Pack kitchen supplies that won’t be needed

Day 2 of 7: (Wednesday)
Work 7am – 3:30pm
Final inspection before settlement
Meal plan – Indian chicken curry
Continue packing boxes/go for a walk

Day 3 of 7: (Thursday)
Work 7am – 3:30pm
Settlement (YAY)
Collect keys
Take a load of boxes to new house, unpack them
Pack more boxes
Meal plan – Mexican (burritos)

Day 4 of 7: (Friday)
Work 7am – 3:30pm
Personal training session
Take a load of boxes
Meal plan – leftovers

Day 5 of 7 (Saturday)
Day off (no work)
Take load of boxes on way to family commitment

Day 6 of 7 (Sunday)
Day off (no work)
Take van full of boxes to lighten the load
Unpack as able
Meal plan – leftovers

Day 7 of 7 (Monday)
Day off (no work)
Lunch with friend
Take a load over
Prepare all furniture and boxes – organise them into one place in preparation for moving day on Tuesday
Call energy company and arrange power
Call insurance company and ensure all details are correct for moving day

I think the thing I have struggled with the most throughout this whole experience has been looking around the house for what we have left, knowing that some of it we can’t mov housepack yet because we still need it, and feeling like we haven’t made any progress.  I have been out shopping looking for storage solutions to better organise my new pantry, I will be making posts on our progress as we move in.  I like to have things organised, and I plan to share our ideas and strategies, in organising our kitchen, planning our meals once we get settled since my husband and I are on a diet to help lower cholesterol (something I struggle with in the aim to keep meals interesting).  We have plans for some things we want to fix around the house; we need to get a covering over the back patio, we are getting air conditioning installed, a dishwasher installed, I am super excited to get my sewing room organised, start a veggie patch, attempt a verticle herb garden, and a personal cookbook sorted for my thermomix and Tupperware pressure cooker recipes.

Keep an eye out as I plan to get more organised into next year, I want to post more recipes, meal planning tips, and general household organising as I create my new routine.  My husband is starting a new job after finishing uni, we will both be working shift work, and most probably not be on the same shifts, so I need to have meals planned, be organised enough to stay on top of the laundry, cleaning and keep some time to do some things for myself that I haven’t been able to do for two years since I commenced my post-graduate studies that I just finished this year.  I have a knack for managing to get myself into commitments that leave me stressed, time poor and without time to relax and do things for myself.  My husband and I have decided that next year is going to be our year, to do some things for us, after having a very hard 3 years while we both studied, while we saved to get married, and then saved to buy a house.  I know we all make new years resolutions, but mine are highly achievable and revolve around getting back to things that bring me happiness; reading, working on my blog, sewing, playing the piano keyboard, and I have the garden project to work towards.  We also want to make ourselves a home and spend some quality time together and with our friends and family.  Moving house is a tiny step in the great picture, but it is a process and we want the day to run as smoothly as we can.

Updates to follow.

What has worked for you in the process of moving?  I have labelled my boxes and I’m trying to get everything organised, that’s the best we can do at the moment I think.

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What I Am Learning About Happiness!

After reading the happiness project I am trying to find ways I can improve my life and bring in happiness.  What it takes to begin with, is the realisation that we don’t need to find what the next adventure is to be happy.  No matter what we do, the next thing we think will make us happy is not the achievement of happiness we are looking for.

Happiness CAN be found on a holiday, but why is that?  I consider holiday happiness to be circumstantial, we are happy while on holidays because we are doing things we enjoy, we have no stresses of work, no concerns about “business as usual” issues like meal planning, budgeting and fitting in our daily duties and housework.  A holiday provides us with a break from all of that, personally, the idea of a holiday doesn’t excite me like it does for other people.  If I have a holiday planned I like to take extra leave from my job so I can prepare to go, and have some down time when I get home to catch up on all the things I left behind, and the extra work I created while being away (such as the onslaught of washing we created).  Others think happiness is not working.

Others think happiness is not working.  Retiring or dropping back at work, but what happinesswould you really do with your time, if you get there so early?  Some people are happy to be homemakers, they keep themselves busy, take a trip every now and then.  Some like to create themselves a routine of activities, while others have a dream of retiring to travel, something that costs money you may not have if you retire early and live a long life.  Personally, all the things I enjoy can be expensive, and for a lot of the time I don’t know what to do with my spare time, and I love my job.  I like to know I have something I need to do in the morning, I need a reason to get out of bed, I question what am I doing with my life and I need to feel I am achieving something.  Reflecting on this idea is what has made me realise happiness isn’t something we achieve by working less, or retiring to a life of travel, or even having children (while children can bring people joy – our mental health and state of mind can have a positive or a negative impact on children).  We need to find our happiness in business-as-usual existence.

We need to spend some time thinking about what we enjoy.  What do we like to do?  Why don’t we have time to do it?  And what can we do to make time, and actually be present and realise when we are happy.

Since reflecting on these things I have come to a few conclusions about myself.

  1. I find happiness in achievements.  This can be something as simple as finishing a crochet project I set for myself, I always feels disappointed when I make something for someone and have to give it away, because it is the product of all that time and effort I put into it.
  2. I like to read.  I have always loved reading since I was a child, I used to read fiction, but since I started nursing I have realised I like to learn about things.  I read biographies, books on neuroplasticity, and my husband thinks I like self-help books, but I read non-fiction books about things that interest me.  I guess then my opinions are based on my own knowledge, not just something I saw on Facebook.
  3. I like writing…  I know I’m not very good about it, I don’t get amazing grades at uni, my husband read my first essay when I started this post graduate course and he told me my writing was bad, and he has no idea how I got my degree.  But with the blog I guess I like to share, and I think we all have the capacity to influence each other, to encourage and to realise we share similar struggles.  I like sitting in the sun with my laptop, I like sharing things that inspire me, and funnily enough, my husband recently told me he thought I should write a recipe book to help people make nutritious, all-in meals that are easy to prepare.
  4. Which leads me to cooking.  I like to make food that tastes good, that’s easy to prepare and is comforting to sit down to at the end of the day.  I like trying new things and planning ahead for the week.  I also like the satisfaction of seeing others enjoy the food I’ve prepared.
  5. I enjoy exercise, although I am not always motivated to do this, I always appreciate it once I get in and get started.  I guess it’s the endorphins we get from exercise, but I believe it helps our mental health too.  I love yoga, but I have been slack lately, and getting started is my downfall.
  6. Sadly, no one I know understands this, but I love to learn.  Like I mentioned about in number 2, I actually enjoy studying.  My course stresses me out because of the time restraints and me working full time (most of the time fitting in some overtime), but I really enjoy the achievement of learning something new, of getting a decent mark (despite my poor writing) and the act of writing I guess you could say.
  7. Socialising.  As much as I like to be a home body, sitting on the couch with my laptop and a cosy blanket, like anyone I need socialising.  I like to catch up with friends, go out for brunch, and be in the company of other people.  For this reason, I enjoy nursing.  On my first prac I couldn’t believe I could get paid to talk to people all day, I realise that isn’t all I get to do, but I love that I can talk to people all day.  There are days where I have personality clashes, where I might be in a bad mood and don’t’ feel like talking and maintaining the customer service level of interaction that is expected, but I meet some really lovely people, and the gratitude we get some patients who appreciate every little thing you do for them, that someone else might take for granted.

I won’t bore you any further (if in fact, you read through all of that), but I challenge sunhappinessanyone who thinks they are looking for happiness to have a think about what makes you happy.  There are things we do every day that we do because we enjoy it, we don’t have to rely on others to provide our happiness, we don’t need a holiday, or a bigger house, or more stuff.  What we might need is just to get outside in the sunshine, to meet a friend for coffee or attempt one of the things on your list that you would describe as enjoyment.  Plan to do at least one of these things each day, even something as small as having a moment to read, meditate, and take the time to acknowledge that you are enjoying something, feel what it’s like to be happy, and stop looking forward at what you think will make you happy.  Because, that chase will never come to an end.

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We’ve Moved! Beginning Chronicles of 1 Marriage and 2 Bachelors

My husband and I have moved house now.  We have settled in relatively well I guess you could say.  We finally got the internet back on, which has been novel not to rely on using our phones as wifi hotspots when they barely have a reception as it is.  The move has not gone without its hiccups, we almost didn’t fit some of the furniture into the house, we filled the storage space we were given, but it’s all in and we are all co-existing just fine.

I finally have a few days off in a row and I decided to do something for me.  I’ve been so tired moving and working, after just having had a chest infection that seems to have taken me at least two weeks to get over I thought it was time to do something I haven’t had the chance to do in months.  So today I am burning a candle, I finished the edge of a crochet rug I have been working on for over a year now, (I haven’t touched it since last winter), and this afternoon I am heading for a run, we’re having homemade pie for dinner tonight and I am hoping in the next few days to finish off a cot quilt I started months ago.  As much as that sounds all very busy, they are all things I like to do, things that I find beneficial for my mental health and it gets me away from a screen.  Who knows there might even be time later on if I wanted to read a book, after my 13hr sleep last night I feel full of energy for a change, not dragging myself through the motions.

Our existence in the house is far from perfect, although it has been good with everyone pitching in for meals, I have definitely cooked less than I usually would, but the house isn’t as clean and tidy as I would like it.  Living with my husband and two bachelors, we have some work cut out for us.  My husband and I like to live in a cosy, warm and tidy environment, but since I have been working and unpacking for the last two weeks I haven’t had the opportunity to get some things done, my husband has been great however, staying on top of the washing that was piling up (we only wash for ourselves), and staying on top of the bathroom and the dishes.  I need to find the time for a full house clean up.

Most of all I am looking forward to getting creative again, I have a baby shower coming up for twins and I want to make some patchwork quilts for them.  I would have liked to crochet a rug each but I just don’t have the time with only 2 weeks up my sleeve I don’t think even I could manage to pull that off.  Keeping in mind the uni semester recommences soon and I have to decide if I’m going to continue or differ for 6 months.  I have plans to catch up with my piano keyboard, sewing machine and curl up with some books, that’s all I”ve been dreaming about since the semester finished.  I will post an update with my progress with the quilt and home cooked pie tonight if I remember.

I wasn’t sure how I would cope in a house of boys, I have never lived in a share house and so far I must say things aren’t going too badly.  The only real issue at this stage is the hot water system, as it isn’t keeping up with demand, something we are working on fixing.  In the meantime, I have been planning things with the gym to shower there, and friends have offered when we have been stuck, as it’s winter here I really can’t do a cool shower, maybe summer would be ok.  We all have different routines which means we aren’t all in each others hair all the time, my husband and I are shift workers so that always changes, hte other guys – one works Monday – Friday day work, and the other only works a few nights a week but stays up quite late and sleeps through the day.  Meaning we try to be quiet down that end of the house, but also a good reason to go out for the day.  For the most part I think we all pitch in together, we do the things we can see need to be done, and above all we all get along which I think is just as important.  The house would make an interesting tv show I think, not that I condone reality tv!


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Home is Who You Are – A Museum of Me

Moving house is a massive ordeal.  I have been packing now for two days, I have about 40+ boxes between my hallway, spare room, and pantry, yet I still feel as though I’ve barely made any progress.  I still have a lot of things sitting around on the surface that I can see, making me feel as though there is still a long way to go.  As usual, my lists have followed.  Why is it that we only focus on what we see on the surface?

You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, or so my husband reminds me.  It’s ok to display your contents on the outside, it’s ok not to display a picture perfect image of what you want people to think you are.  I have posted before about posting on social media of a life we wish to display to others, but I am someone who wears everything on my sleeve, who is very much “what you see is what you get.”  I would like to say I’m down to earth, open and too honest sometimes, not in a rude way, but I don’t consider anything off limits when I’m around family and friends.  I would like to think I don’t display an image of what I want people to think I am, I am exactly as you see.  A dag, I don’t have a trendy bone in my body, but I am friendly, caring and considerate.  What is wrong with that?

I often get annoyed at how people treat social media as a place to be someone they want others to think they are, a place to identify with what they want to be, where they aren’t displaying who they really are.  I used to share everything, ups and downs, asked for facebookadvice etc but I came to the conclusion that people are incredibly judgemental.  As the years have gone on (I have matured), and various personal circumstances with friends and family I have come to the conclusion that I don’t need anyone else’s approval, I just need to have my own happiness (something else I learned from doing the happiness resolution).  I used to try to please other people, to do what I thought was expected, but I have come to realise that I can make my own happiness.  On social media I share things I think others would be interested in, I keep my life for real interactions, and I actually “catch up” with my friends since they can’t read what I am doing on facebook.  We don’t rely on others to approve of what we are doing, to be impressed with us because they will like us for who we are regardless of what we have achieved, however they may share our achievements with us.

My home at the moment resembles me perfectly, although I am not comfortable with the mess, who is?  I am living with my belongings on the outside, as much as I live with my feelings and thoughts on the outside.  I am in the process of a transition, and that is obvious both by talking to me and by visiting me in my home.  I am about to commence night shift so this event of disarray isn’t about to go away anytime soon, but I will get through it.

Moving house is a massive inconvenience, it produces an opportunity to look at who you are as you uncover all of your history, you see where you have come from if you’re like me and hold onto things for nostalgic reasons.  It relies on you handling everything you own, deciding how much you need it, and parting with the things you have decided no longer have a place in your home.  But, how do you decide what you really need to survive with?  My husband and I are about to move into a shared house so that we can either save or build a house (we will find out soon), but part of this process means we have to put everything we don’t need into storage.  As we are sorting through our belongings I am starting to realise how much clutter we have, things we associate with that we store and never use, but that we know is there.  I have boxes and boxes in the hallway of books, we have either read and won’t read again, or what we have never read, I also have many boxes of Tupperware I have packed up thinking I won’t need to live with.  Leaving the questions, what do we really need, and why did we think we needed these things?  The simple answer is that we buy these things because we think they will provide happiness, out of convenience or enjoyment.


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Acquaintances, Friend or Foe?

The best way to discover who you can really rely on is by experiencing adversity.  I have a friend in hospital at the moment currently recovering from surgery, we’ve been in to visit, had an awesome time laughing and sharing stories, and just generally chatting like there’s nothing wrong.  And it’s true, there is nothing wrong, we have a pretty decent relationship between the lot of us, but tonight I noticed how good it was to just be able to debrief about whatever we want, to talk about anything and know you won’t be judged.

Recently we’ve been looking at the relationships around us, there are people we know who judge us, people who always criticise us, and those who we know are always there for us, really there for us not just because they say it.  Not that we are experiencing adversity but we recently realised we needed some assistance and a friend put his hand friendshi[up without hesitation.  Someone who is easy going doesn’t judge anyone and who accepts you as you are…  It made me realise we need more people like this around us, a positive influence, people who we can hang out with and who will take as for who we are rather than what we feel they expect us to be.  This got me to wondering, “who sets those expectations?”  Do we set our expectations?  Do we see someone else who appears to be successful and feel like we need to measure up to them.?

We have friends and acquaintances who are self-involved, who make us fee like we are an occasional convenience, who make us feel inadequate, who appear to judge us (as I mentioned), who find all of the negatives rather than supporting us, and then there are the ones who are just happy to be in our company.  They are the ones we should be seeking out and spending out time with, but why is it we spend so much time trying to prove ourselves to the ones who see or make us feel all our faults?  Why can’t we just allow ourselves to be happy?

In light of this new revelation, I have decided to resume my happiness resolution, as I have bought new books this week, once I finish this university semester, and focus on the things that make us comfortable, happy or at least content…  Hanging out with friends who are our adopted extended family, reading a book, catch up on some sewing and just be present for a moment rather than rushing around.

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